Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Fish Tale

Mark Fiorito's "Kiss of the Marlin" is a magical tale of self discovery.  Casey Doran and his friend Lenny are on a deep sea fishing tip in Baja when Casey has a close encounter with a magical marlin.  Their interaction saves them both.

When Casey and Lenny return to San Diego things begin to change for Casey who up until the trip had been very rigid in his standards and stuck in a very big life rut.  Magical things begin to occur that open him up to new experiences and new people.  By opening himself up and seeing where the enchantment will take him he changes his life.

This was a great story with something for everyone.  Fiorito's writing is very witty and the characters are well developed.  The story flowed and it was a quick read because of the pacing.  It's definitely worth your time and money. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Inside Afghanistan

"Farishta" by Patricia McArdle, a recent winner of the 2012 San Diego Book Awards for published general fiction, is an intriguing look at a diplomat's life inside Afghanistan.  It is the story of Angela Morgan, a U.S. diplomat, who witnesses the death of her husband in the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

After his death she flees back to the United States and sticks to desk assignment to protect herself.  With no high-priority postings her career is coming to a dead end until she is assigned to the mission in Afghanistan.  She is scared to death to take the assignment; but knows it is the end of her career if she doesn't.

When she arrives in Afghanistan she is met with hostility by the Afghan males and her own all male team.  As she continues to come up against bureaucratic roadblocks to helping the Afghan people rebuild she begins to sneak out of the compound in a burka and help the people in her own way.  She works to improve their living conditions and quality of life.

I really liked the characters in this novel and felt that they were very well developed.  The emotions and conflicts were very real.  The story was well paced and kept me reading to find out what would happen next.  A great read!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Occupied by Survival

Tina Boscha's "River in the Sea" is a compelling story of the final months of the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.  The story focuses on Leen, a 15 year old girl, and her family's struggles during a time when the men and boys are forced to hide in the fields and barns to avoid being captured by the Germans.

Leen must pass by the German camp on the outskirts of town each day as she travels between home and work and back again.  One fateful day a guard dog runs in front of her truck and she kills it.  After they force her to bury the dog she is allowed to go home.  Her family fears repercussions and her father and brother, Isaac, go into hiding.  Eventually the rather is rounded up and the women are left to fend for themselves.

As the months go by and the food supplies dwindle the mother loses hope and becomes despondent.  It is up to Leen to see that the family survives until the Allied forces can reach their town.

This was a fascinating read about an aspect of the war (the occupation of the Netherlands) that I haven't read about in other books. It's definitely worth a read!